Foley’s BMW Nets Motul Pole Award in GTD
August 6, 2022
By John Oreovicz
IMSA Wire Service
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat arrived at Road America believing their Lexus RC F GT3 would excel on the fast, sweeping corners of the iconic Wisconsin road course.
Their confidence was well-placed. Hawksworth earned the Motul Pole Award for the GTD PRO class in qualifying Saturday for the IMSA Fastlane SportsCar Weekend. The 31-year-old Englishman hustled the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus around the 4.048-mile circuit in 2 minutes, 5.365 seconds (116.242 mph).
It was the sixth career IMSA pole for Hawksworth. Six of his seven career race wins in the WeatherTech Championship have come in Lexus entries fielded by Vasser Sullivan.
He cited tire management as the key to his latest pole, as well as an important factor for Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute race.
“The car has been working really well and it’s been a great weekend so far,” Hawksworth said. “The Michelin tires last for a full stint, but when you want that magic kind of lap time, you have to push when the tire is ‘in.’
“We used the first lap to build the tire temperature, and then obviously went for it on the second lap. It turned out to be the right strategy.”
Matt Campbell (No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R) came closest to toppling Hawksworth, but the Australian spun exiting the final corner while trying to complete a lap that live timing predicted could have been fast enough for pole.
Campbell’s best lap of 2:05.829 (116.008 mph) was good for the outside of the front row in the GTD PRO-leading car he shares with Mathieu Jaminet. Antonio Garcia (No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R GTD) rounded out the top three at 2:05.828/115.814 mph.
Foley Puts No. 96 BMW at Front in GTD
Robby Foley prevented Vasser Sullivan from completing a GT qualifying sweep by putting the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 on the GT Daytona (GTD) pole, 0.140 seconds ahead of Frankie Montecalvo in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3.
Foley, teamed with IMSA’s all-time career race winner Bill Auberlen in the No. 96, turned a lap of 2:06.084 (115.579 mph) for his third career pole. Robert Megennis qualified third after running 2:06.237 (115.439 mph) in the No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3.
Foley was pleased with the performance of the BMW M4, in its first year of homologation with the WeatherTech Championship. He said getting a perfect run through Canada Corner, the 12th of Road America’s 14 turns, was key to his fast lap.
“Of course, it’s great to get pole,” Foley commented. “It just shows how hard these guys work to get our brand-new car well-developed and I’m loving it around Road America.”
Keeping an Eye on the Sky
An area of concern for Auberlen and Foley is their lack of experience racing the M4 in wet conditions. There is a strong probability of rain for Sunday’s race.
“Normally I would love it, but we really haven’t driven this car too much in the rain,” Foley said. “We don’t know the recipe quite yet, but you’ve got to learn sometime, right?”
The prospect of rain doesn’t faze Hawksworth.
“Racing in the wet is always a bit of a lottery, but we’ve got two Brits in the car,” he joked. “So, I think we’ll be all right in the wet, and we’ll give it a good go.”
The green flag is scheduled to wave for the race at 11:40 a.m. ET Sunday. Flag-to-flag coverage is available on Peacock and IMSA Radio. Live Television coverage begins at noon on USA Network.